The Seahawks first-year players are currently continuing an in-person offseason program while the veterans remain virtual participants during OTAs. We’ll see if any veterans opt to attend Thursday’s open practice.
In the meantime, I took some of your questions in another mailbag. As always, thanks to those who participated.
I’m sure Pete Carroll and John Schneider have inquired about Julio Jones and what it would cost to acquire him in a trade from the Falcons. Seattle’s front office has also likely crunched the numbers and figured out how to make it work while remaining under the salary cap.
The money is far more relevant than Jones’ price tag. Given that Jones still has three years left on his contract with cap numbers of $23.1 million, $19.3 million and $19.3 million from 2021-23, respectively, the future Hall of Fame wideout isn’t likely to cost more than a Day 2 draft pick. Despite being 32, Jones is still one of the best receivers in the NFL, though injuries limited him to just nine games in 2020.
He told Shannon Sharpe during Monday’s “interview” that has since gone viral that he wants to win. Does that mean he’d be willing to restructure his contract upon being traded? Maybe. But he’s going to be expensive regardless.
Even if Seattle can figure out a way to make it work, trading for Julio before paying Jamal Adams would be reckless and could potentially fracture the relationship with the star safety. The Seahawks have just $7.2 million in available cap space. Getting a deal done with Adams has to be priority No. 1 before Seattle considers acquiring Julio.
It wasn’t just the local talking heads (myself included) who were adamant that the Seahawks needed a new third wide receiver. Schneider and Carroll clearly agreed given they used their second-round pick to select D’Wayne Eskridge out of Western Michigan.
Freddie Swain had a nice rookie season, but his ceiling projects to be more of a middle-of-the-road wideout compared to Eskridge, who has the size and athleticism to be a versatile playmaker. Seattle has rolled with David Moore as their WR3 for the last several years, and while Moore had some wonderful moments, he was never the consistent complement to Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf that the Seahawks needed him to be.
Eskridge can be that guy with his elite speed and noted physicality. He can be a horizontal weapon in Shane Waldron’s offense while still being able to take the top off an opposing secondary. Expect to see Eskridge regularly worked into the running game as well.
This isn’t to say Swain won’t have a role, but his workload is likely to be much smaller than the rookie’s.
If there’s one regret the Seahawks should have about their offseason, it should be how the relationship soured and ultimately ended with Jarran Reed. I know that Reed ended up costing himself money by asking for his release, only to sign for less in Kansas City, but he’s a notable loss for Seattle.
A defensive line headlined by Poona Ford, Carlos Dunlap, Kerry Hyder and others would look a lot more potent with Reed in the middle. Still, the combination of Al Woods, Bryan Mone, L.J. Collier, Ford and potentially even Cedrick Lattimore should be enough to hold things down on the interior.
Even without Reed, Seattle’s current defensive line is more top-end talent and quality depth than it did a year ago.
Barring a Richard Sherman return to Seattle, the Seahawks are likely done adding at cornerback. It will be a combination of D.J. Reed, Tre Brown, Tre Flowers and Ahkello Witherspoon starting with Damarious Randall, Pierre Desir and others fighting for roster spots in backup roles.
That isn’t a list of names that looks daunting on paper, particularly given corner is viewed as one of the most valued positions in football, but it’s a group that has a shot to be good enough given the talent around them on Seattle’s defense.
Reed was sensational in 2020, and his success played a critical role in Seattle feeling comfortable taking the 5-foot-10 Brown in the fourth round of the 2021 draft. Witherspoon possesses tremendous physical tools and had some nice moments down the stretch of last season for the 49ers. He’s a worthy low-cost flier if he can put his game together consistently. Flowers is likely the odd-man out and could be a cap casualty cut at the end of camp if he isn’t able to win a starting job or at least show marked improvement from 2020.
Ugo Amadi and Marquise Blair will split reps at nickel.
I’d be surprised to see the Seahawks finish as a top 10 defense. There are far too many things that would have to go right in order to get there. But I think there’s enough talent on Seattle’s defense to be in the top half of the league, especially if Jordyn Brooks is a worthy full-time starter and guys like Collier, Alton Robinson, Darrell Taylor and any of the team’s cornerbacks take a step forward.
This is a great question because at least one, if not two will make the team. Seattle kept six receivers on its initial 53-man roster in 2020.
Let’s assume that Metcalf, Lockett, Eskridge and Swain are locks to make the team. That leaves two spots for this year’s UDFAs as well as guys like Penny Hart, Cody Thompson and John Ursua. My guess is those two spots will go to rookies.
Here are my power rankings for UDFA wideouts who could end up making the team in August:
1. Cade Johnson, South Dakota State
2. Tamorrion Terry, Florida State
3. Connor Wedington, Stanford
All three of those guys will need to remain healthy and show well in the preseason in order to solidify their spots behind Seattle’s top four receivers.
My guess is that Seattle would love for Darrell Taylor to flourish at SAM linebacker and become Bruce Irvin 2.0, a three-down player who is competent in coverage while possessing elite pass rush ability. That scenario playing out would open up edge snaps on base downs for Dunlap, Robinson, Hyder and Benson Mayowa.
Expect Taylor vs. Cody Barton to be one of the most notable training camp battles in Seattle this summer.
I don’t see Ben Burr-Kirven getting much run on gameday barring an injury or two. His special teams impact should keep him on the roster, though.
The Seahawks have to extend Adams if they want him on the field in the opener against the Colts. I don't see any scenario where he plays in 2021 without a new contract.
I’m not sure there are any negotiations happening between the Seahawks and K.J. Wright. Seattle is in a tough spot with big-time draft investments needing a place to play (Brooks, Barton and Taylor). Would Wright be happy in a part-time role with Brooks becoming a three-down middle linebacker? Would Seattle feel comfortable relegating Brooks, a 2020 first-round pick, to a part-time role once again?
In a vacuum, Seattle would benefit from having Wright on the roster, but the layers to it make it more complicated. Wright doesn’t want to take a hometown discount with the Seahawks, which means he’d also need to feel comfortable with his compensation before you even consider how much he’d play in 2021.
You can’t rule out Wright’s return until the veteran linebacker signs elsewhere, but don’t expect an imminent conclusion to his free agent status.
I’d say there’s an 85% chance that Russell Wilson doesn’t come to OTAs. Given the veterans made a statement regarding their choice to not attend the voluntary portion of the offseason program, it wouldn’t be a great look for Wilson to shift course and return to the VMAC prior to mandatory minicamp.
If Wilson ends up attending, expect most of the rest of the roster to do the same. You’d assume the solidarity aspect of this would be important to the team’s veterans.
I would expect to see the Seahawks announce that someone will be going into the Ring of Honor in 2021. Good call on Charlie Whitehurst, though it would be a shame if you just spoiled the surprise for everyone.
I’ll never forget when Russell Wilson was selected to be randomly drug tested during exit interviews the day after the Seahawks lost to the Packers in the 2019 Divisional Round. An NFL rep came up to him and notified him of the test, and Wilson thought he was joking. He was just about to address the media for the final time before doing double take at the guy and going “Oh, you’re serious?!” He then turned back to us and let out a wry smile saying, “I’ll be right back.” Everyone, Wilson included, got a good laugh out of it.
I’d lose to just about everyone in a putting competition.
Option C. Asadero in Ballard.
When I say my name over the phone, oftentimes people think I’m saying “Sann.” That’s why I have to give them the ole “’F’ as in football, ‘a’ ‘n’ ‘n’ as in Nancy.”